- Nawaz involved, PDM leadership not “unaware” of letter, Umar says.
- Select few civil-military leaders have seen it, he says.
- Umar hopes after letter, several lawmakers will no side with PM.
ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said Tuesday Prime Minister Imran Khan is ready to share the “threat letter” with Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial.
In a press conference along with Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Umar said only a select few people in the civil-military leadership have seen the letter due to its “sensitivity”.
The planning minister said there was a need to explain the “letter” that the prime minister had read out in the March 27 rally, but it could not be shown publicly due to its “sensitive nature”.
Umar noted that after the masses questioned the credibility of the letter, the prime minister deliberated over sharing the letter with someone, and he thought that it would be right to share it with the CJP — as he is a credible person.
“…he holds a high office […] and the chief justice himself is a well-respected man,” the federal minister said, noting that it would be shared with the CJP when the need might arise.
“I have seen this letter myself and a few members of the federal cabinet have seen it as there are laws that dictate sharing such sensitive documents,” he said.
The prime minister had Sunday revealed that “foreign elements” are involved in the attempts to topple his government and said, “some of our own people” are being used in this regard.
The premier, while flashing a letter before the public during PTI’s rally in Islamabad, said that he has “written evidence” that “money has been pouring in from abroad,” while “some of our people are being used to topple the government.”
The Opposition, however, has turned down the narrative that a foreign conspiracy plot is being hatched to oust the government and berated PM Imran Khan for shifting blame for his “incompetence”.
Addressing a charged PDM rally in Islamabad yesterday, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz had said no foreign powers were working against the incumbent government as the prime minister himself was the “biggest threat” to the country.
The prime minister is also embattled as he is fighting a no-confidence motion that was tabled against him in by Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif in the lower house.
What is in the letter?
Sharing the details of the letter, Umar said it was “noteworthy” that the letter was dated even before the Opposositon had submitted the no-confidence motion in the NA secretariat.
“…it is important as this letter clearly mentioned the no-confidence motion. It was also written that if the no-confidence motion fails and the prime minister remains in power, it can have severe consequences,” he said, referring to the threat PM Imran Khan mentioned in the rally.
The letter also mentions Pakistan’s foreign policy, Umar said, without elaborating what it says.
“No-confidence motion and foreign hand are interlinked, these are not two separate things,” the federal minister said.
Who are the people involved?
Umar said without a doubt, former prime minister and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif is involved in the “conspiracy” against PM Imran Khan.
“When the prime minister wants, he will reveal more details about Nawaz’s activities, and it has already been reported in the media whom the PML-N leader has met in the recent days,” Umar said.
The PML-N supremo is in London and he has met officials from the “intelligence agencies of other countries”.
Chaudhry said this was one of the reasons why he was against sending Nawaz abroad as people like him become “stooges of international establishment”.
“He met Israel’s ambassador as well,” Chaudhry said.
The federal minister said the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) leadership is not “unaware” of the letter. They have repeatedly mentioned “that matters have settled”, Umar said, without going into further details.
The federal minister said several lawmakers — from the Opposition and the government — might rethink their position and side with PM Imran Khan during the voting on the no-confidence motion after this development.
Message for lawmakers
“Until now, they were unaware, but now, they have been informed about the letter. So, it is up to them to decide whether they will side with forces working against Pakistan or not,” he added.
Chaudhry said this is “not a new thing” as earlier ex-prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated, former premier Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was prosecuted, and former military ruler Gen Zia-ul-Haq lost his life in a plane crash.
The information minister said that the decisions taken in past were part of Pakistan’s history. “But now, Pakistan has a leader who is not attending foreign phone calls and is connected with the people.”
Lashing out at YouTubers, he said: “Some so-called seniors have started vlogging, whose programmes do not get ratings, and have started sharing the letter of the Europen Union.”
Chaudhry said the letter of the Europen Union was already public, adding that the media “does not have the letter”.
“Please learn how to verify news from young reporters,” he added.
Sham Idrees announces break in his marriage with Froggy
YouTube’s famous couple Sham Idrees and Froggy aka Sehar are taking sometime away from each other in their relationship.
Sham, taking it to his Instagram, left his fans in a shock after announcing his separation with Froggy. He wrote: “I would like to announce that me and froggy are taking sometime away from each other in our relationship. Please don’t involve me in issues concerning froggy, rabil or any of the other family members. I appreciate some privacy during this difficult time.”
Sham is a Canadian based YouTuber, who has a following of 1.4 million people on Instagram, is widely-known for his entertaining content. His videos often feature his wife Sehar along with him.
The couple tied the knot a few years ago and is parents to baby Sierra who is two-years old. The duo welcomed another daughter on September 28, 2022. They named her Shanaya Idrees.
After the birth of his first daughter, Sham Idrees also introduced his fans to his daughter Dua from his previous marriage.
Massive power breakdown hits Pakistan
- Minister says power generation units are temporarily shut in winter at night.
- Says frequency variation in national grid triggered outage.
- Says ministry trying to restore power in next 12 hours.
LAHORE/KARACHI/QUETTA/ISLAMABAD: A countrywide power breakdown, triggered by a “frequency variation” in the national grid early Monday morning, has left large parts of the country including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar and Quetta without electricity.
Power Minister Khurrum Dastagir, while talking to Geo News, said that the power generation units are temporarily shut down in winter at night as an economic measure to save fuel costs.
“When the systems were turned on at 7:30am this morning one by one, frequency variation was reported in the southern part of the country between Jamshoro and Dadu. There was a fluctuation in voltage and power generating units were shut down one by one due to cascading impact. This is not a major crisis,” said the federal minister as the country plunged into darkness for the second time in four months.
The minister said that his ministry has started restoring some grid stations in Tarbela and Warsak.
“Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO) and some grids of Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) have already been restored,” claimed the minister.
Talking about the breakdown in Karachi, the minister said that the matter in the port city is complicated as it has a complete electric supply system.
“We provide K-Electric about 1,000-1,100 megawatts routinely, however, it will be restored within a few hours. It is not certain how long will it take to sort this issue. However, my target is to restore electricity in the country in the next 12 hours,” said the minister.
Before the energy ministry’s announcement, different power distribution companies had confirmed the breakdown.
According to Quetta Electric Supply Company (QESCO), the two transmission lines have tripped leaving 22 districts of Balochistan, including Quetta without power.
Karachi power update
Meanwhile, K-Electric spokesperson Imran Rana said that at approximately 7:34am today, the national grid experienced a loss of frequency, affecting the power supply to multiple cities across Pakistan
“This has also cascaded to KE’s network affecting power supply to Karachi,” Rana said, adding the KE’s network is safe and protected.
“Our teams are actively monitoring the situation and enabling restoration efforts.”
An IESCO spokesperson said that its 117 grid stations were without electricity.
Meanwhile, PESCO also confirmed the outage in areas where it supplies electricity.
This is the second time within four months that a country was hit by a major power breakdown.
NEPRA takes notice
The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), in a statement, said that it has taken “serious notice” of the power outage and directed the National Transmission & Despatch Company (NTDC) to submit a “detailed report”.
The statement also said that the regulator has previously imposed fines on similar outages in the 2021 and 2022. It also shared that NEPRA has consistently issued directives and recommendations on tackling such events in future.
In October of last year, Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Quetta, Multan, and Faisalabad were hit by a power outage.
At that time, the power minister said that nearly 8,000 megawatts of power went offline.
Back then, Dastagir had said that the simultaneous faults in two power lines, which had triggered the breakdown, at the same time was concerning for the government. He had also announced that an in-depth inquiry was ordered and promised action.
A timeline of power breakdowns in Pakistan
The country’s generation and distribution network has suffered eight major power breakdowns during the last nine years.
In 2014 and 2017, nationwide blackouts were caused by a fault in Tarbela Power Station while fog, frequency variation and the Guddu Power Plant fault were blamed for breakdowns in 2015, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022 and 2023.
Every time the party in power announced to conduct a comprehensive probe and vowed to rectify the issues but nothing has happened despite multiple inquiries.
Punjab ordered to issue divorce certificates to non-Muslims
- Lahore High Court directs provincial authority to frame rules within 90 days.
- Petitioner says issue is faced by many members of Christian community.
- NADRA’s Registration Policy allows change of marital status on basis of affidavit.
The Lahore High Court (LHC) Wednesday directed the Punjab government to frame, within 90 days, rules under which union councils would issue divorce certificates to members of Christian and other non-Muslim communities in Pakistan.
In many parts of the country, the divorce certificates are not issued to non-Muslims by union councils that instead claimed such certificates were “not issued to the Christian community.” This is an issue for members of the said community because, without a divorce certificate, they cannot request the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to update their marital status while applying for the renewal of their identity cards.
The matter was brought to the attention of the LHC during the case Shumaila Sharif vs the secretary union council etc.
The petitioner in her appeal requested that the court is a writ of Mandamus — an order from a court to an inferior government official ordering the government official to properly — against the relevant union council and direct it to issue her the divorce certificate.
The case proceedings
The petition was heard on December 16 last year and the presiding judge was Judge Tariq Saleem Sheikh.
During the proceedings, the counsel of the petitioner, Advocate Umar Saeed, said that the issue was faced by several people in the Christian community and was not a one-off incident.
Citing Section 33 (1)(j) of the Punjab Local Government Act 2022 (PLGA 2022) — which mandates that union councils ensure registration of births, deaths, marriages and divorces for all the communities without discrimination — and Article 36 of the Constitution, which expressly requires the state to protect the minorities’ legitimate rights and interests, the counsel argued that by refusing to issue the requisite certificate, the council was failing to fulfil its legal duty.
Additionally, Advocate Kashif Alexander, the court’s amicus curiae on the matter, contended that obtaining a divorce certificate is a legal right that cannot be denied.
Together the two emphasise that while the Constitution of Pakistan (1973) does not explicitly guarantee the right to identity, Article 9 (right to life) and Article 14 (dignity of man) safeguard that right. Therefore, any citizen whose marital status changes due to the dissolution of marriage by divorce has a fundamental right to obtain a divorce certificate from the competent authority and then have their CNIC updated/revised.
The Additional Advocate General has little to defend the respondents and said that the provincial government was taking steps to address the complaints of the Christian community regarding the non-issuance of divorce certificates.
During the proceedings, it was brought to the court’s attention that NADRA’s Registration Policy dated 06.04.2021 (Version 5.0.2) allowed a change of marital status of a divorcee on the basis of an affidavit in the prescribed form.
In light of this, the court directed that until the provincial government framed the requisite rules needed for the issuance of the divorce certificate by the union council, NADRA shall accommodate the Christian community in accordance with the Registration Policy 19.
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